The role of mindfulness in clinical supervision

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laura Wyatt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: This study explored the construct of mindfulness within the context of clinical supervision. A review of the relevant literature revealed common elements between higher levels of mindfulness and effective supervision, such as strong working alliance and supervisory relationships, counselor self-efficacy, decreased levels of anxiety, the ability to sustain attention, and empathy (Daniels & Larson, 2001; Friedlander, Keller, Peca-Baker, & Olk, 1986; Germer, Siegel, & Fulton, 2005; Greason & Cashwell, 2009; Greason & Welfare, 2010, in press; Ladany, Ellis, & Friedlander, 1999). Both point to similar constructs that improve counselor development, counselor performance, and positive client outcomes. However, there are two distinct bodies of literature from the areas of mindfulness research and clinical supervision research, and this study aimed to bridge these two fields, and explored the relationship between mindfulness and relevant supervision variables. A sample of 72 supervisor-supervisee dyads completed the study. Participants were drawn from 16 CACREP accredited universities throughout the United States. University supervisors were either faculty members or doctoral students and supervisees were master's students completing their practicum or internship. The research questions and corresponding hypotheses were primarily analyzed using multiple, multivariate regression analysis. Dyadic data were collected and analyzed by matching data from pairs of supervisors and supervisees. First, results indicated that the supervisors' level of mindfulness was a significant, positive predictor of supervisor perceptions of the supervisory relationship (facilitative conditions and working alliance) and session depth. Supervisor mindfulness had no impact on supervisee perceptions of these supervision variables. The supervisees' level of mindfulness was not significantly related to any supervision variables. Second, the supervisees' level of mindfulness was significantly, positively related to the supervisees' self-efficacy. Third, the supervisors' level of mindfulness had no relationship with the supervision focus. This study provided an initial, exploratory view of the role of mindfulness within clinical supervision. The results serve as a starting point to direct future research questions and gain a more in-depth understanding of the relationship among these constructs. Finally, results support the inclusion of mindfulness training in counselor education and provide information about supervisor characteristics for effective clinical supervision.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Counseling, Mindfulness, Supervision
Clinical psychologists $x Supervision of
Counseling in higher education

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